There is a lovely mountain drive from just south of Kastania that takes you through the villages of Kariovouni, Milia and Platsa where you can rejoin the main road. It’s worth the detour if you have the time.
At one end of the Tepeni Gorge is the small village of Kariovouni. We stopped here to take a peek at the church and had a little wander through the village. The church itself was not that old but the frescos within were lovely.
We did not have time to explore the hidden gorge which is accessed from the path by the taverna. We did venture part way though and marvelled at the abundance of insects and butterflies
We could see the tall bell tower of the church in Milia from miles away and if you are lucky someone will unlock the door so you can get a look inside and gawp at the wonderful frescos. An information board in English by the church said the church was built at the end of the 14th Century.
The village is very pretty and has wonderful views over the valley. It was a pleasure to wander through the deserted cobbled streets.
Platsa is a delightful little village just off the main road with a lovely platea and large central church.
On the edge of the village are a couple of treasures:
Agia Paraskevi Church
This tiny little church is on the northern outskirts of Platsa. It was built in 1412 and the beautiful frescos were painted just after that. If you are wondering how I know all this it’s because there is a handy information board by the church in Greek and English.
Agios Nikolaos Church
The church is rather grand and has three isles and wonderful frescoes of course. It is situated at the end of a short track that is signposted from the road.
The information board proclaims the first building phase started in the 9th Century and the frescoes were added in the 14th century. Frustratingly the church was locked when I was there so the photo you see below of the frescoes is taken from the information board. I have no idea who holds the key.
I heard about the amphitheatre on Bookface [sic] and sought it out as it did not seem to warrant a mention in any guide books that I owned. It’s not signposted but it is just below Agios Nikolaos.
The modern amphitheatre is a classic example of poor planning and has been rarely used, apparently due to the lack of toilet facilities! A real shame, as its setting is splendid.
The main road south from Stoupa to Itylo Bay is an attractive drive, it passes through several pretty villages including Nomitsi and Thalames and past loads of pretty small churches.
On the outskirts of Nomitsi is the small church of Agioi Anargyroi. Some of the frescos date from the 10th and 11th centuries.
Nearby is the Church of the Metamorphosi which has been recently restored and has frescos dating from the 13th Century.
We stopped for a pleasant lunch in Thalames on the way to Areopoli. The small main square has a smart bust of someone local that I have never heard of as well as the Morea Oil Press which has a small shop. Opposite is the taverna and two arches where a small sacred spring emerges. We did not visit the small, independently run museum.
The local mobile fruit and veg van man always seems to be asleep when we are passing.